Well, this review is part of the Toy Review Advent Calendar, and I love Transformers, so of course I would pick a Transformer with a holiday theme. No, I didn’t choose a robot from any of the Marvel UK comics Christmas issues — I speak of course, of the bot that brings gifts to all girls and boys — Wreck-Gar!
You don’t believe me? Oh, do you not remember “Transformers: Animated”? Wreck-Gar decided to play the part of Santa Claus and deliver garbage to all the kids in the episode “Human Error”
Well, his spark is in the right place, at least….
So, this is Transformers: Animated Wreck-Gar, a very satisfying and fun toy of a robot that turns into a garbage truck and back. After transforming him back and forth, I was reminded of how fun the TFA toys were. The design aesthetic, one that I admittedly had trouble getting used to based on the first few images, turned into one of my favorites, and this transformation is not too difficult but rather is perfect for a kid who wants a nice, big toy without frustration that has plagued many Transformers since the original movie line.
Seriously, there’s lots to love about this toy. First of all, it’s a garbage truck. I remember being a kid and being fascinated by large vehicles – semis, tractors, dump trucks, etc. I’m sure that there are many kids who don’t like trucks, but if they do, they’ll love this one. Added to the fun is the fact that it’s got lifting forks that actually work. A button on each fork allows it to move off the ground, simulating lifting large objects (such as trash cans), and while they don’t actually lift high enough to flip the objects over the truck cab, it’s still a fun little feature that can add to play.
Added to this is the fact that Wreck-Gar’s weapons can be stored in the top of the truck bed. A slider pushes each weapon out for easy removal. While the instructions don’t show it, you could easily put the weapons on either side of the truck, allowing for an assault mode, not that good-sparked Wreck-Gar would use them while driving around. (Unless you told him too; Wreck-Gar takes things very literally, sadly.)
Changing him to robot mode is pretty simple. Swing up the fork lift arms, lift up the truck bed, fold in the cab wheels and cab itself, pull out his legs, swing down and rotate the arms, flip out his head, and put the truck bed on his back, fold out hands and feet, and presto, you’ve got Wreck-Gar in robot mode. His face is reminiscent of the Generation 1 Wreck-Gar with the beard and mustache, but you can also see how his head was based on an old TV, and you can also see hints of “Weird Al” Yankvic, the voice actor for Wreck-Gar. Sure, he’s got a dump truck on his back, but that’s how he had it in the show, and two, he’s so awesome you don’t mind.
That’s the thing about the TFA aesthetic — every robot is full of expression. Emotions may be exaggerated compared to other Transformers line, but sometimes I’d rather have goofy expressions instead of Dull Surprise. The smile on Wreck-Gar’s face shows the playful personality inside. The antenna adds a nice touch. Derrick Wyatt should be commended. His weapons peg onto his forearms, or you can combine them into a larger weapon. All Wreck-Gar needs is an accordian, a garbage bag, and a Santa hat, and he’d be set.
The sad part about this toy is that it made me miss “Transformers: Animated”. Don’t get me wrong, I ended up enjoying “Transformers: Prime” a lot, but TFA was just so fun and so different that it was a refreshing break from the movies and ended up being a quasi-all-encompassing continuity universe that “Transformers: Armada” was initially rumored to be. (Remember those rumors? Wow, I’m old.)
In short, any Transformers fan should be happy with this toy. Don’t set out expecting a large, complex transformation. Instead, expect a fun, quirky toy that demonstrates all that was right with “Transformers: Animated.” Any kid would love to have Wreck-Gar as a gift this holiday. You won’t find him on the shelves, but it’s worth hunting him down on eBay.
Maybe find him a Santa hat for next year’s holiday season.